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Engineering Infinity [Mass Market Paperback]

Charles Stross , Jonathan Strahan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 28 Dec 2010 --  

Book Description

28 Dec 2010
The universe shifts and changes: suddenly you understand, you get it, and are filled with a sense of wonder. That moment of understanding drives the greatest science-fiction stories and lies at the heart of Engineering Infinity. Whether it's coming up hard against the speed of light and, with it, the enormity of the universe, realising that terraforming a distant world is harder and more dangerous than you'd ever thought, or simply realizing that a hitchhiker on a starship consumes fuel and oxygen with tragic results, it's hard science-fiction where sense of wonder is most often found and where science-fiction's true heart lies. The exciting and innovative science-fiction anthology collects together stories by some of the biggest names in the field including Stephen Baxter, Charles Stross, Gwyneth Jones and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; Original edition (28 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907519521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907519529
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 10.7 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,712,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Johnathan Strahan is an editor and anthologist. He co-edited The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology series in 1997 and 1998. He is also the reviews editor of Locus. He lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and their two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Just in time for New Year, a nice selection of stories to clear the head. The book contains stories by 14 different authors, and the description above is rather misleading. For the record, the editor is Jonathan Strahan, and it contains stories by Stross and Baxter (also by Peter Watts, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Karl Schroeder, Hannu Rajaniemi, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Damien Broderick and Barbera Lamar, Robert Reed, John C Wright, David Moles, Gregory Benford, Gwynneth Jones and John barnes - but not, as far as I can see, by Bear).

The stories are nicely varied - the foreword discusses them in the context of "Hard SF" but admits that not all of them satisfy the criterion in the classic sense. I have to admit I don't really care about that, I simply enjoyed them as stories - there's a dash of quantum time travel, some deep space stuff, some pessimistic visions of the future (I liked Rusch's account of a marriage falling apart against a background of creepy genetic augmentation - all at a price, of course - which tells a very human and familiar story in a new and fresh way).

The stories are all high quality, with the best easily worth 5 stars, and only a couple below 4. Those that especially stood out for me were (beware: a couple of spoilers follow) "Malak" by Watts, a sort of recast
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Eclectic Collection of Hard (ish) SF 27 Oct 2011
By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Engineering Infinity is a collection of modern science fiction which gives a broad view of the work being produced towards the hard end of the spectrum. Starting with a nod to the classic cyberpunk anthology, Mirrorshades, it is a highly contemporary selection, with a number of stories which could be categorised as being part of the post-human sub-genre, but which is also very firmly grounded in the work of classic writers.

The heartbreaking "Watching the Music Dance", a story of a little girl damaged by illegal implants which boost her musical ability, could easily have been written by a modern Phillip K Dick, using science fiction as an instrument to explore current issues. In this case, this is a tale of the damage over zealous parents can inflict on themselves and their offspring.

"Mercies", by Gregory Benford, on the other hand recalls classic Asimov, with a tale of a time travelling assassin, changing alternative pasts by despatching historical serial killers before they commit their crimes.
Thirdly, Stephen Baxter mines a very British seam reminiscent of Arthur C Clarke with the "Invasion of Venus", a story of mysterious alien incursion into the Solar System, seemingly oblivious of the human race.

Moving forward (in terms of writers), "Malak", a stunningly good tale about a military drone given a conscience, is very much, in its combination of very near future and high technological focus, on the Cyberpunk playing field.
That Cyberpunk feel is also to be found in "Laika's ghost", which is additionally reminiscent of Ken Macleod or Adam Roberts, bringing in themes of post-Soviet revolutionary politics.

Probably the most outright entertainment is to be had from Charles Stross's "Bit Rot".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gernsback to the Future 11 Jun 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an odd little collection of fifteen science fiction stories. For one thing, the table of contents is on the last page. I have no idea why. I also can't see what the theme of the collection might be. The editor, Jonathan Strahan, outlines the history of science fiction from Hugo Gernsback to the present. The field has matured beyond the restrictions of early hard science fiction and become something wider, richer, and apparently harder to define.

What about the stories? "[S]ome of the stories are classic hard SF, some are not. [I]t is part of the ongoing discussion about what science fiction is in the 21st century." Since the stories are not related in any systematic way, perhaps the collection is a celebration of diversity. I am never sure what people mean by that, either. Ah, well. The stories are all pretty good, each in its own way. Four stood out for me:

Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Server and the Dragon" has no human characters. But it is rich with motives and emotions that humans have no trouble understanding. From two, one.

Robert Reed's "Mantis" is two stories, edited. A man and a woman exercise and watch another man and woman meet on the street outside. Between the two couples a high tech window subtly alters what they see of each other. Oh, and there's a bug.

In Gwyneth Jones' "The Ki-anna" a fraternal twin investigates his sister's death on a war-torn planet. An accident or a murder or the self-sacrifice of a seasoned anthropologist?

In John Barnes' "The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees" the growth of a huge undersea structure is investigated by a nearly-indestructible genetically engineered woman who has been recalled to Earth from the environment she was designed for.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent collection of shorts
Good collection of short sf stories - none are actually bad, but I didn't consider any of them astounding either. Read more
Published 22 months ago by J. Beresford
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book...
My parents suggested i read some books about engineers before i settled on my engineering course at university, this was a good excuse to buy a new charles stross book
Published 23 months ago by josh
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mix
Some of the stories seem more sci-fi than others. Some are verging on the metaphysical and leave you guessing as to what they are about.
Published on 22 May 2012 by Stephen J. Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Splendid little anthology
As I have stated more than once in previous reviews, I am a great fan of short stories and they are one of the best means to experience unfamiliar authors. Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2012 by Willy Eckerslike
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and consistent anthology of hard sci-fi
"Engineering Infinity" is an anthology, a collection of short stories, edited by Jonathan Strahan. He as been editing since the early nineties and since then he has brought to... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2011 by ManInsideTheHelm
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear. Original. Entertaining. Good stuff.
I had high hopes for this book. Not only is it edited by Jonathan Strahan, whose The New Space Opera I enjoyed earlier in the month, it also has a new short story by the splendid... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by D. R. Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Suberb collection
Absolutely superb collection, showcasing the best of current cutting-edge science fiction.

Peter Watts - Malak

A mobile robotic war machine gets an upgrade: a... Read more
Published on 1 May 2011 by A. J. Poulter
4.0 out of 5 stars si-fi shorts
This book contains stories from some of the best si-fi writers that are publishing now. If you like to be streached and made to think when you read try this.
Published on 24 April 2011 by Jovi Fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious talent
With the science fiction genre taking off, there's a huge choice about the subgenres for readers to pick from, so how do you narrow it down what to try and especially with finances... Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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